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Customer backlash over debit card fees gives banks a change of heart


More big banks are racing to backpedal on the controversial debit card fees, CNNMoney reports.

On Monday, Atlanta-based SunTrust Bank Inc. announced it will nix the $5 a month fee for debit card purchases starting Wednesday. Soon after, Regions Financial Corp. based in Alabama, said it will cease charging its $4 monthly fee starting today.

Both banks said they will give refunds to all customers previously charged the fee. SunTrust began charging the fees in June, and Regions began charging the fees in October.

“We’ve listened to our clients’ feedback and will provide the convenience and security of check cards at no additional charge as part of all of our checking accounts,” Brad Dinsmore, a consumer banking executive at SunTrust, told CNNMoney.

Likewise, Regions said that customer backlash drove its change of heart.

Bank of America Corp. remains the only major bank with plans to charge customers for debit card purchases. However, it has scaled back its plans.

After JPMorganChase Co. chose not to impose fees last Friday, a stampede of banks followed suit. Wells Fargo Co. later called off a pilot program it had planned in five states that would have charged a $3 fee for debit card usage.

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